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Chapter 11 - your rights


Your right to receive quality service

The DVA Service Charter outlines our commitment to providing quality service to the veteran community. We hope that you will let us know when we get it wrong. Our aim is to continually improve our service and we welcome feedback that may assist us in the process.

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Your right to have our decisions reviewed

If a decision has been made that you are dissatisfied with, you may request a review. Reviewable decisions include:

  • cancelling or suspending your service pension or income support supplement;
  • reducing or increasing the rate of your service pension or income support supplement;
  • refusing your request for an increase in the rate of your service pension or income support supplement;
  • relating to a claim you have made that you are suffering financial hardship;
  • relating to an advance payment of service pension or income support supplement;
  • relating to your claim for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card; or
  • relating to your claim for a Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Card (Orange Card).

Your request for a review:

  • must be made within 3 months of notification of the decision;
  • must be in writing (there is no special form); and
  • must set out your reasons for seeking the review.

If you are dissatisfied with a decision made by a Review Officer you will be notified if you have a further right of appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). Your appeal to the AAT must be in writing and lodged with the AAT within 3 months of the date you receive the Review Officer's decision

See Factsheet:

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Social security age pensioners (paid by DVA)

If you have applied for or are receiving a social security age pension (paid by DVA) and you are dissatisfied with a decision about a claim or your rate of pension you can contact your nearest DVA office and talk about the decision. If you are still dissatisfied, a Review Officer will look at your case and change the decision if it is incorrect. If you still disagree you can appeal to the Social Services & Child Support Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

For more information on the review process contact your nearest DVA office.

Your right to have other decisions reviewed by the Veterans' Review Board (VRB)

You may ask the VRB to review a decision made under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 that you are dissatisfied with concerning:

  • Disability pension eligibility and assessment;
  • War widow(er)’s pensions; and
  • Attendant allowance.

The VRB does not have the authority to review income support payments such as service pension, income support supplement and social security age pension (paid by DVA).

You can also ask the VRB to review a decision made under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 concerning:

  • Rehabilitation, compensation and other benefits.

Your request for a review by the VRB:

  • should be made within 3 months of notification of the decision for VEA decisions and 12 months for MRCA decisions; and
  • must be in writing.

 

See Factsheets:

Your right to apply for an increase in pension

If you are receiving a reduced rate of service pension, social security age pension (paid by DVA) or income support supplement, and your income or assets change, you are obliged to let us know.

In most cases, if you ring us, you will not have to confirm the details in writing. Pension increases are only effective from the day you tell us or the day of the change, whichever is the later. If you prefer to write to us, remember to quote your file number and the date the change occurred. There is no special form to complete.

If your pension is increased for some other reason, the increase can be effective from the date of the determination or from a later or earlier day, depending on the circumstances.

 

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Your right to obtain information about yourself

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 gives you the right to obtain information about yourself.

You need to apply to DVA in writing and fees and charges may apply.

See Factsheet

Your right to privacy

As an Australian Government department we are bound by the Privacy Act 1988. Under this Act DVA is obliged to protect you from unwanted or unnecessary intrusion into your private life and to follow certain standards in requesting and managing the information we receive.

For more information about freedom of information and privacy, contact your nearest DVA office.

DVA staff are also bound by specific confidentiality rules for handling personal information relevant to the payment of social security age pension (paid by DVA) to Australian veterans.

 

See Factsheets:

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Your right to expect that your tax dollar is being used properly

We have safeguards in place to ensure that pensions are paid in accordance with legislation. These safeguards include:

Review programs

If you receive the maximum rate of pension and have income and assets that are unlikely to change significantly, you may be asked to provide information less frequently than otherwise.

Data matching

We compare information we have collected from you with information collected by other government departments such as the ATO and Centrelink. Data matching is overseen by the Privacy Commissioner. While we do compare information with other agencies you are still required to notify DVA of any changes that may affect your pension.

See Factsheet:

Overpayment management

If you are paid more pension than you are entitled to receive, the overpaid amount will be recovered. For example if you tell us about a change in your circumstances more than 14 days after the change happened, if your pension is reduced or cancelled there will usually be an overpayment of pension. There are circumstances where you have more than 14 days to tell us of a change. See Chapter 2 - Your obligations).

Even if you tell us about a change within the 14 days we may not be able to adjust your pension in time for your next payday. We will still recover any money that you have received over and above what you were entitled to.

Most overpayments are recovered by making deductions to your fortnightly pension until the full amount is recovered. Other methods of recovery include repaying the money in a lump sum. This is subject to your capacity to repay.

See Factsheet:

Fraud control

We look for unusual things or inconsistencies in our information.

If an investigation reveals that money has been improperly obtained, or breaches of the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 or  social security law have occurred, the matter can be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions for further action.

Telling us about fraud

If you are aware that another person has obtained a pension fraudulently or failed to declare information which would affect their pension, you can give the information to DVA anonymously. You can phone us, write to us, visit us in person or go on to our web site. 

DVA is required to investigate all reports made. To help us investigate these matters successfully, you should include details that assist in identifying the nature of the fraud and the person being reported.  We do not trace the origin of an anonymous report of an allegation of fraud. However, if you are willing to be contacted by a DVA investigator, our policy is to keep your identity confidential. Due to privacy considerations, DVA cannot give  any information about the progress or outcome of the investigation.

See Factsheets:

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